Automotive UX


instrument display in the 2021 Chrysler Pacifica Pinnacle


Unless you work in UX or in automotive design, you might not think about the user experience (UX) inside your car.

Most products, if not all products, have UX factors. In vehicles, that can include everything from easy ingress and egress, seating, dashboard display, rear-seat entertainment systems, and the somehow very important number and type of cup holders.

In smaller cars, the focus is split between driver and passenger with perhaps more emphasis on the driver, but in bigger vehicles, like mini-vans, UX is often geared more toward creating a great user experience for passengers.

I saw an article that the 2021 Chrysler Pacifica Pinnacle is the winner of the Wards 10 Best User Experience award.

Here are some factors that are considered:

  • second-row passengers may have soft leather-and-microsuede lumbar pillows
  • easy-to-reach controls and bright, clear display screens that are well organized for the driver
  • With potential distracting commotion from kids in the back, lots of features are easy to access via physical switchgear on the minivan’s center stack, rather than relying on touchscreen menus.
  • even safer for a driver is a voice-recognition system radio stations, climate, navigation and phone functions.
  • A slew of USB ports and outlets are inside for connecting or charging devices. (Four USB ports (two USB-A and two USB-C) are up front under the center stack, while second-row passengers get a bunch of the same, plus HDMI ports and a 115V AC outlet. Even the third row has USB ports.)
  • wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as WiFi and Amazon Alexa.

A big addition is the Fam Cam – a ceiling-mounted camera above the second row so parents can see what their kids are doing. It is basically a mobile, comfortable high-tech living room.

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